How a Laptop Computer Works

How a Laptop Computer Works

What is a Laptop? A laptop is a personal computer (PC) produced for providing mobility and portability to users. Laptops are designed to work on small desk space or a user’s lap, hence the name. Laptops combine the majority of desktop computer function and components. Laptops feature the abilities to display information, input data, control a mouse, create sound and attach to networks including the Internet. Where desktop computers function on AC electrical current, laptops feature rechargeable batteries which are powered through an AC adapter.


While laptops were once far behind desktops in power, they are now comparable, if not surpassing, in computing ability.Laptop devices are normally 15-by-11 inches in diameter and weigh in the area of 5 to 10 pounds. They use hinge design to open the display screen to access the monitor and keyboard for the user. Newer monitors are incorporating touchscreen technology as well.

How a Laptop Works

A laptop works in a very similar manner to a desktop computer. Laptops use the same ideology in hardware but have differences in the size and connectivity of the components. Desktop computers use motherboards, or centralized circuit boards, to connect other components such as memory, hard drive, optical drives and video cards. Laptops, due to their compact size, must use a system board that has ports that take responsibilities shared by expansion cards in desktops. Laptop system boards will have built-in connections for video, sound and network connectivity. Components that are not part of the system board must be smaller, designed to create less heat and use less energy.


Memory chips for RAM function the same as their desktop versions except they are smaller and limited in capacity by physical size. Hard drives are smaller and thinner and connect directly to the system board rather than through a data cable as in desktops. The other major differences are the keyboard and monitor. The keyboard is built into the laptop’s system and is not interchangeable. Data entered from the user goes directly into the system via a system board attachment. The same can be said for the monitor, which receives display information through cables in the hinges of the laptop case.


While laptops are replacing desktop computers with their portability, netbooks are doing the same to laptops. Netbooks are small, light computers measuring less than 10 inches and weighing the area of 3 pounds. Netbooks normally do not use internal components such as CD-ROMs, floppy drives or DVD-drives and function mainly for Internet connectivity and mobility.

How to Take Apart a Dell Inspiron 6000

How to Take Apart a Dell Inspiron 6000

Repairing or replacing some components on the Dell Inspiron 6000 requires the complete disassembly of the computer. Changing the motherboard or some of the com1260687_bk_1160-100160827-origponents embedded on it is difficult to do, requiring you to remove layer upon layer of electronic components. Be prepared to remove a multitude of screws in order to take this computer apart.



  1. Save all your important documents and files to a removable media device, such as a USB flash drive, a compact disc or an external hard drive.
  2. Shut down the computer and remove the power cable and any externally-mounted devices that are connected to it.
  3. Turn the computer over and remove the battery.
  4. Locate the memory module compartment near the battery bay and extract the two screws from the cover. Remove the cover.
  5. Remove the memory module(s) by spreading the tabs so that the module(s) pop up at an angle. Pull the module(s) straight out of the port.
  6. Locate the screw near the lock symbol and extract the screw. Slide the tab under the screw toward the optical drive to release the drive. Pull the optical drive off the computer.
  7. Locate the hard drive near the battery bay and extract the two screws from it. Pull the hard drive out of the computer.
  8. Turn the computer over and open the display as far as it will go.
  9. Insert a flat-head screwdriver into the far-right end of the hinge cover and pry it up. Pull the hinge cover up moving from the right side toward the left, until it is completely off the computer.

Instructions 2

Step 1

Extract the two screws from the top of the keyboard and lift the keyboard to expose the flat cable underneath. Disconnect the flat cable and remove the keyboard from the computer.

Step 2

Check for a mini-PCI card in the top-right corner of the keyboard area. This will not be present in the computer unless you installed one or ordered one as an option. If your computer lacks one, move on to Step 12. If a mini-PCI card is present, disconnect the antenna cables from it.Release the tabs on the card, letting it will pop up at an angle. Pull the card straight out of its port.

Step 3

Extract the two screws on each display hinge.

Step 4

Extract the screw that secures the black ground cable to the computer, and disconnect the display cable from the computer.

Step 5

Take the display off the computer and turn the computer over.

Step 6

Extract 13 screws from the base of the computer: 11 of them are located along the edges of the base; one screw is located near the battery release tab; the last of the screws is located between the air vent and the memory module compartment.

Step 7

Turn the computer over and extract the screw labeled with a “P” from the middle-right side of the keyboard area (below the mini-PCI card compartment), then remove the screw from the top-middle part of the display hinge space.

Step 8

Disconnect the touch-pad cable located in the center of the keyboard space, and take the palm rest off the computer.

Step 9

Locate the video card/thermal cooling assembly located in the top-center part of the computer (where the hinge cover was), and extract the two screws from it. Lift the complete assembly off the motherboard.

Step 10

Locate the heat sink to the left of where the video card/thermal cooling assembly was. Extract the screw(s) that secure the heat sink to the motherboard and pull it off the computer.


Final Part

  • Disconnect the speaker cable (running up from the bottom-left part of the computer) from the motherboard.
  • Locate the microprocessor thermal-cooling fan assembly (the fan on the left side of the motherboard) and extract the four screws on it in the numerical order in which they’re labeled. Remove the assembly from the computer.
  • Turn the screw on the microprocessor (located beneath the thermal-cooling fan assembly) counterclockwise until it can’t turn anymore, and lift the microprocessor off the motherboard.
  • Extract three screws from the motherboard: one of them is located at the top-left corner of the hard drive cage; another is located at the bottom-right corner of the hard drive cage; the last one is found on the back wall, directly above where the video card/thermal-cooling assembly was located.
  • Disconnect the cable for the internal Bluetooth card (running from the bottom-right corner of the laptop to the motherboard).
  • Lift the motherboard straight up out of the computer to finish the complete disassembly of the Dell Inspiron 6000. To assemble it back, follow the instructions in reverse order (use upgraded parts, if applicable).

What Is a Computer Network Interface Card?

What Is a Computer Network Interface Card?

A network interface card, or NIC, is the hardware component that enables a computer to communicate on a network. NICs act as a computer’s physical interface and hardware address within a network. Without a NIC installed, it is impossible for a computer to communicate on a local area network or the internet.

MAC Address


All NICs have a unique physical address assigned to them called a MAC address. This address consists of 6 pairs of hexadecimal characters separated by dashes or colons (i.e. 01:23:45:67:89:ab.) This address is used to identify the card on the local network and assist in the efficient delivery of data from one location to the next. Generally, a MAC address is burned into the card on ROM and cannot be changed.


Network interface cards are designed to use a standardized interface to the transition media. In other words, they only work with specific connectors or wireless standards. Some common examples of these technologies include the ISDN, DSL, Ethernet, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi standards. In order for a local network to function properly, the NIC must utilize the same technology as the other devices on the network.


The two most common network standards are Ethernet (via RJ45 connector) and Wi-Fi (via 802.11 wireless standards.) An Ethernet NIC will generally have one RJ45 input that can be used to connect a computer to a router or modem with a Cat-5 cable. A Wi-Fi NIC will generally use a small antenna to transmit and receive the 802.11g or n wireless standard signal. There are many less common variations and alternatives to these technologies, but Ethernet and Wi-Fi are by far the most broadly available.

Hardware Interface


NICs can interface with a computer in several different ways. Internal NICs can be built directly on the motherboard or installed in a PCI slot. External NICs will often use a USB or Firewire interface. Some are built specifically for use with laptops and can fit in a free PCMCIA card slot.


When choosing a NIC the most important factor to consider is the technology utilized by the network it will be interfacing with. If the NIC operates using incompatible cabling or technology it will be unable to communicate on a network. If the network in question is wireless, it is important to make sure the standard of the wireless router is the same as the wireless standard used by the NIC. Other factors that influence the performance of a Wi-Fi NIC are distance from router, radio interference and matching channels of all devices on the network.